Friday, November 18, 2011

Machinery’s Handbook 27 PDF CD Problems

So I tried to fire up my Machinery’s Handbook 27 PDF the other day and it kept giving me an error whenever I tried to view the encrypted/protected content. I assume it had something to do with the current upgrade of Adobe Reader X.

You must re-install permission to open this document.:

This was a new problem. I clicked “OK” and got this:
The buttons sent me to the Industrial Press website. So I did some googling and tried installing the latest FOPEN plugin from the Industrial Press resource webpage (you can’t use the FOPEN plugin from FileOpen, something I learned the last time I had problems with the Handbook). All the suggestions on the Industrial Press troubleshooting page concerned much earlier versions of Adobe Reader.
So I fired off an email to Industrial Press from their contact page form. I got no answer back. Then I dug through my last email I sent about issues with Adobe Reader 8 (in 2008) and tried “” which worked as I received a reply almost immediately:
Unfortunately, some changes in Adobe Reader X and Acrobat X are incompatable with Machinery's Handbook 27. That is the reason you are getting the message "FILEOPEN LOCK FAILURE(1)". You are likely to get this even if you have your Handbook authorized. The symptoms are most severe in Reader X. Problems in Acrobat X may not be as severe, although there will probably be some.

It is possible to get your 27th edition Handbook working in Reader X, however, it is likely that you will not be able to print, and you may have other issues as well such as occasional or frequent crashes of Reader X.

To get the Handbook to open in Reader X, open Reader, go to
Edit->Preferences and select the General category. At the bottom right of the Preferences dialog box, look for the Application Startup area and find the checkbox for "Enable Protected Mode at Startup" and uncheck it, then close Preferences and close Reader. Reopen Reader and try to open the Handbook. It should open this time. You also need to make sure that you have the plugin from the link below installed:

So I opened up Adobe Reader X and unchecked the “Enable Protected Mode at startup” box.

Notice the warning. Adobe has gone to great lengths to make Reader somewhat safer, the Protected mode is the latest attempt. So I guess I’m no longer as safe as I could be. Probably the best thing is to disable it only when reading Machinery’s Handbook.

MHCD2705 Yup, “Print” is greyed out. This is a pain as I often print out tables from the handbook for use when doing 3D modeling or making something in the shop. So I’ll have to take a screen capture or copy and paste in order to then print a part of the Handbook out for offline use.
I emailed Industrial Press back, asking a few questions:

Does the 28th edition work without these problems in Reader X?

What's the long term plan for handling the fact that Adobe Reader will be
updating over time? It seems that as Adobe updates Reader this problem could
occur with future versions of the CD rom and really reduce the life of the
product (compared to the print version which obviously has no such

And again received a quick reply:
The 28th Edition, and the upcoming 29th Edition do work with Adobe X. Unfortunately, we can't help when an update from Adobe causes these problems, but we'll always do our best to try to fix them. These problems also generally come to pass in aging versions of the Machinery's Handbook. At this point, we're about 8 years past the release of the 27th Edition, so unfortunately, that software is beginning to show its age.

So that’s the ultimate problem. Industrial Press considers the CD version of Machinery’s Handbook to be software, not a book. Books last almost forever, when physically taken care of. Software does not. I applaud their desire to continue to support the 27th edition as best they can. But I can’t help but feel that issues like this are a large part of why people pirate e-books. I should mention that I did receive this CD for free a while back from Industrial Press as way of thanks for using a blurb of mine. So I can’t really complain. Hopefully this will help someone else having this problem, at least.


Peter Tucker said...

hey Nick - have you tried Nitro pdf reader - free - and apparently much safer than Adobe reader.

Peter Tucker

Nick Carter said...

Yes, I need to try another PDF reader but I suspect it won't work with the MH - due to the copy protection.